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Library Ontology

This file collects some concepts (classes and properties) of the Library Ontology. To refer to other ontolgies the following namespace prefixes are defined (all in Turtle syntax):

# RDF basics
@prefix rdf: <> .
@prefix rdfs: <> .
@prefix owl: <> .
@prefix xsd: <> .
@prefix ns: <> .

# Other Ontologies
@prefix dct:  <> .
@prefix dc:   <> .
@prefix foaf: <> .
@prefix event: <> .
@prefix skos: <> .
@prefix bibo: <> .
@prefix daia: <> .
@prefix geo: <> .
@prefix frbr: <> .
@prefix vcard: <> .
@prefix address: <> .
@prefix mods: <> . # experimental - MODS is not RDF but parts of it can be used

In addition mfc: refers to the MARC 21 Format for Community Information which is not an ontology at all - but at least you can point to some existing MARC fields. For instance mfc:270$k is the telephone number (which can better be expressed as vcard:tel in RDF). In the same way zeta: refers to the ZETA cataloging format in PICA+ which is used by the German Sigelverzeichnis (see their rules). For instance the telephone number is zeta:035B$a.



A library can be a collection, an organization, or a place.

:Library rdf:type owl:Class ;
    rdfs:subClassOf [ 
        rdf:type owl:Class ;
        owl:unionOf ( bibo:Collection foaf:Organization geo:SpatialThing )
    ] .

:LibraryBuilding rdf:type owl:Class ;
    rdfs:subClassOf :Library , geo:SpatialThing  ;
    owl:intersectionOf ( :Library , geo:SpatialThing ) .

:LibraryOrganization rdf:type owl:Class ;
    rdfs:subClassOf :Library , foaf:Organization ;
    owl:intersectionOf ( :Library , foaf:Organization ) .

:LibraryCollection rdf:type owl:Class ;
    rdfs:subClassOf :Library , bibo:Collection .
    owl:intersectionOf ( :Library , bibo:Collection ) .


The Library Ontology does not define address classes and properties because there already is vCard.

Library Service

See DAIA (see and [ some notes])

Other concepts

holding, store, stack, loan...


FRBR simplified

  • libo:exemplar can link a work, expression or manifestation to an item
  • libo:exemplarOf implies beeing a frbr:item but nothing less


:isil rdf:type owl:DatatypeProperty ;
    rdfs:subClassOf dct:identifier .

There is an authority file for libraries and similar organisations as Linked Data: lobid-organisations.

Relationships between Libraries and their collections

  • owns ?
  • holds ?
  • provides ?

Relationships between Libraries

Libraries can be and have subordinate entities which do not need to be libraries. Libraries can split and join. Libraries can be friends ;-)

  • dct:hasPart/dct:isPartOf
  • foaf:knows
  • branch? subunit? partner?

This page collects notes about a Library Ontology, formerly hostes at Code4Lib wiki.

The Library Ontology is a proposed RDFS/OWL ontology to describe information about libraries in RDF. Up to now it is drafted in an open planning phase. There are many formats and related ontologies for bibliographic data, addresses, and places which could be reused (instead of reinventing the wheel). Information about libraries is collected in several library registries which could be mapped to the Library Ontology.


The purpose of the Library Ontology can best be described by examples and use cases. For example how do you state and express (in RDF) ...

  • that something is a library?
  • that some library building belongs to a given library institution?
  • opening times in RDF?
  • the URL of the OPAC of a library?
  • which fees are bound to the use of the library (library card, reminder charges etc.)?
  • that a given collection is held by one library?
  • that a given collection is owned by someone?
  • the type of a library (if "type" is a usefull concept at all)?
  • ...

please add more use-cases when you stumble upon!

Some information can be expressed by existing Ontologies like vCard, but surely there are concepts and relationships which only make sense in context of libraries. The Library Ontology should define this RDFS/OWL classes and properties and collect existing classes and properties to be used for the description of libraries.


The basic concepts of the Library Ontology are collected at the file

Existing library registries

The International ISIL Agency maintains a registry of library registries which act as local ISIL authorities.

Other related projects:

Other linked data sources with library information

  • dbpedia
  • ...

Related Formats and Ontologies

RDFS/OWL Ontologies

Other formats

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